In the event of a divorce, there is a distribution of property of the marriage. Assets are usually distributed according to the laws of the state in which you are filing for divorce. Several factors determine the rights of each spouse in a marital home.
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Houses Owned Before the Marriage.
Houses owned before the marriage are generally given to the spouse that owned the home before the marriage, especially if that spouse has already paid off the home. If you have transferred half of the house title to your spouse, you may want to obtain the advice of a divorce attorney.
Homes Bought During the Marriage.
A home purchased during the marriage becomes property of the marital estate, meaning it belongs partially to both spouses. If a divorce happens, both spouses have an equal claim to the marital home, so this is usually decided by a judge. If children are involved and one spouse is awarded custody, the judge may order that the spouse with custody be allowed to live in the marital home with the children.
Houses with Joint Title.
If both spouses have purchased a home and made money contributions to the home's mortgage and maintenance, both spouses have an equal claim. Usually, if the house is jointly owned, one spouse is required to buy out the share of the other spouse. This is determined by a judge in divorce court.
Houses in One Spouse's Name.
If only one spouse has purchased a home in her name alone and made all payments on the home, that spouse will likely be given the marital home unless that home is the domicile of any minor children and the other spouse has been awarded custody.
Generally, any inheritance belongs to the spouse it was left to unless that spouse has "commingled" his inheritance with the marital estate. Once inherited property has been commingled, it is hard to get it back in the case of a divorce.
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